Huawei: Leaving no one behind

Huawei is committed to openness, collaboration, and shared success, says its chairman Liang Hua.
Source: Adobe Stock

By Liang Hua

Liang Hua is Chairman of Huawei.

07 Dec 2020

Healthcare, according to tech giant Huawei, is an area where digital technology can make a “big difference.” That was the key message Huawei chairman Liang Hua delivered at the recent Web Summit in Lisbon. The showpiece summit- the world’s biggest internet industry event - was forced to go online this year and Hua spoke in a session on the “technologies that will shape the future of our digital infrastructure”.

In his speech on 2 December, Hua spoke about the ICT industry and “the digital future”, saying, “Digital innovation is taking us to a new era of intelligence. A smarter, better, and greener life is on the horizon. Many disruptive technologies will be the driving force. Connectivity and computing are central to this transformation.”

By 2025, more than 30 percent of global GDP will come from the digital economy and Europe is committed to achieving sustainability targets through digital technologies, he said. “In the long term, digital technologies will be essential for Europe to transition to a fairer, more prosperous society, to meet climate and other environmental challenges, and to improve the quality of life for current and future generations.”

“Digital innovation is taking us to a new era of intelligence. A smarter, better, and greener life is on the horizon”

Digital technologies, Hua explained, have already allowed SMEs to communicate and “do business in new, seamless ways. Social media and e-commerce platforms enable SMEs to better serve customers in remote areas. For SMEs, the digital economy presents more opportunities than challenges.”

He added, “Europe has a strong industrial base and the aerospace, automotive, and biomedicine industries are exploring new technologies and services. The convergence of 5G, cloud, and AI will further help manufacturing go digital, improve productivity, and create new value.”

Hua said that digital innovation also “matters a lot” to everyday lives and healthcare is an area where technology “could make a big difference. COVID-19 has changed how people live and work. But new technologies like 5G, cloud, and AI have helped fight the virus and speed up vaccine research.”

They also keep lives on track through telecommuting, video conferencing and online education, he explained. “In a time of pandemic, technology has meant hope. And it will help Europe recover faster and more efficiently from the economic impact of the virus.”

He also said that he believes “green innovation” can contribute to better use of resources and natural preservation and notes that Huawei has been integrating sustainability “across the entire product lifecycle” to minimise environmental impact.

He told the summit Huawei has been in Europe for 20 years and had invested more than $1bn in R&D. ”We have made solid progress with our partners in exploring digital transformation. We will keep working with our local partners to help Europe continue to succeed in digitalisation and sustainability so that no one is left behind."

"Digital technologies are reshaping the world. As part of Europe's digital transformation, we are committed to openness, collaboration, and shared success. We will continue to create greater values for our customers and society with technology.”

Under its “Women in Tech initiative” Huawei is also flying the flag in attracting more women into the tech sector. About a million specialists in digital are needed in Europe but, currently, women account for just two out of every ten employees in the tech sector.

Berta Herrero, senior EU public affairs manager for Huawei, says this is “reason to be concerned.” It is, she notes, why she says the company wants to step up its efforts to advance equality within the sector, “as this will be one of the ways to make society as a whole advance towards full equality in the digital era.”

Herrero, who leads Huawei’s equality, diversity and inclusion efforts at EU level, adds, “First, we need to speak about the need of attracting more women to this sector and discuss ways to retain female talent within the tech industry.

As data shows, even if they take up tech-related jobs, women have a much higher probability of dropping out, of leaving their careers, after having children. In many cases, of course, this is not entirely a voluntary decision - and that’s where policymakers and the industry need to step in – to ensure that becoming a parent is not a career-ending choice.”

“In a time of pandemic, technology has meant hope. And it will help Europe recover faster and more efficiently from the economic impact of the virus”

Herrero argues that “existing stereotypes” are a key reason to explain why young women are not choosing technology-related programmes as much as men. “This is why we don’t spare resources in supporting initiatives that can help women – and most importantly, girls - to understand that this is ‘their world’ as well. At Huawei’s EU Office, throughout 2020 we have focused precisely on this.”

With public activities focused on raising awareness, it has tried to encourage women and girls to “follow their passion”, to study STEM subjects and to apply for cyber and tech jobs.” We have even dedicated the campaign commemorating our 20 years in Europe to women, and we have done this to use it as yet another example that can inspire girls to study tech-related subjects and/or choose a tech-related career.”

While there has been some progress, she says there is still a lot of potential “that we can unlock if the industry and the EU institutions join forces. Private-public partnerships are definitely a way to go here. More efforts can also be made as well to jointly mark important days that remind society about the importance of equality.”